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Prosecutors, defense make final arguments to jurors in Granville murder trial

Posted July 27

— Jurors deliberated for about 2½ hours Thursday without reaching any decision on the fate of a Texas man accused of killing a Granville County couple in 2014.

Eric Campbell, 24, of Alvin, Texas, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, second-degree arson, robbery with a dangerous weapon, larceny of a motor vehicle, financial card theft, identity theft and two counts of cruelty to animals in the Dec. 31, 2014, deaths of Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife, Dora Faulkner, 62.

Deliberations are expected to resume Friday morning. If Campbell is convicted of first-degree murder, he could face the death penalty. Superior Court Judge Henry Hight told jurors they also could consider a lesser charge of second-degree murder.

Jerome Faulkner, Dora Faulkner, slain Granville County couple

Authorities say Campbell and his father, Edward Watson Campbell, stormed into the Faulkners' home in northern Granville County, robbed them, killed them and set fire to the house before fleeing in both the couple's Chevrolet Silverado and a stolen SUV.

Police in Lewisburg, W.Va., arrested the Campbells on Jan. 1, 2015, following a shootout, and investigators found the Faulkners' bodies under a mattress in the back of the pickup.

Edward Campbell killed himself two months later in Raleigh’s Central Prison, leaving his son to face trial alone in the case.

Defense attorney William Durham laid the crime spree entirely on Edward Campbell, saying his son had no idea what would happen after he joined his father on a cross-country trip after Edward Campbell jumped bail in Texas.

"Eric Campbell had no intent to rob, to hurt, to steal ... when his father killed the Faulkners," Durham said in his closing argument. "His only goal was to survive."

The defense has maintained throughout the three-week trial that Eric Campbell suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father. That left him incapable of standing up to his father to prevent the carnage in the Faulkners' home.

Campbell testified last week that he was outside the house for most of the attack, which he said his father carried out alone.

"Ed Campbell is the type of person who could hurt you without warning, without hesitation," Durham told jurors. "Eric Campbell isn't."

But prosecutors urged jurors to use their common sense, insisting that one person alone couldn't have inflicted all of the injuries the Faulkners suffered.

"There were two people in this house, two people committing this assault," Granville County Assistant District Attorney Allison Capps said. "This was not a one-man job. There was no way for one man to manipulate all this weaponry."

Granville County District Attorney Mike Waters dismissed the defense's PTSD argument, telling jurors that Eric Campbell made "conscious choices and deliberate decisions" during the trip with his father, on the night of the killings and when West Virginia police tried to apprehend them.

"Eric Campbell is not here because of things his dad did. Eric Campbell is here because of what he did," Waters said.

"That man is not a victim," he later said, pointing at Campbell. "Dora and Jerome are victims."

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  • Brandon Sionne Jul 29, 7:31 p.m.
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    When society, a community or a group of people in higher places feel an intense need to convict SOMEONE, beware! That is when the risk of convicting an innocent is greatest. The prosecution's case against this defendant appears to have been built for his father and this young man got dropped into that slot when his father committed suicide. In my opinion, there is far too much supposition and story-telling on the part of the prosecution and not enough solid evidence to support their claim as to this defendant's involvement. Rather frightening to imagine people accepting the prosecution's story-telling as actual evidence, especially in a capital case.